- Mark Saxon, ESPN Staff Writer
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LOS ANGELES -- Don Mattingly said Tuesday night's 10-3 loss to the Cleveland Indians "just shows us that we've still got a lot to continue to work on." He mentioned a plethora of "teaching opportunities."
Such opportunities probably include explaining to Dee Gordon that taking off from third base on a shallow fly ball to left with nobody out might not be the smartest base-running play and that attempting to swipe second with nobody out in the sixth with your team trailing by four also might not be the right call.
While he was in a teaching mood, Mattingly probably pointed out to Yasiel Puig a couple of overeager running plays, one of which proved successful, the other turned into the tail end of a bizarre triple play.
But what Tuesday really showed the Dodgers is how tenuous life can be when you're relying on two aging starting pitchers to hold up the back of your rotation.
Granted, every start Josh Beckett and Dan Haren have made this season for the Dodgers has ranged between "serviceable" and "historically brilliant." Without their contributions, the Dodgers would still be flopping around many games out of first place and dogged by the "underachiever" label.
But earlier this season, Haren, 33 and with a chronic bad back, said, "I feel discomfort 24 hours a day, seven days a week pretty much, at this point of my career," and the 2,000 career innings suddenly seem to be catching up to Beckett, 34.
Tuesday's start was Beckett's worst since his season opener, with the Indians jumping on some hanging breaking balls to score three times in the first and twice more in the third inning. In the days leading up to Tuesday, the Dodgers had tweaked their Triple-A rotation so Red Patterson would line up on Beckett's pitching days, just in case they need to skip one of Beckett's starts.
"I think, 'OK,' is a good word with Josh," Mattingly said. "Again, without overplaying it, at this point of his career, I think he feels like it's a battle in between starts."
On Monday, Mattingly mentioned that Beckett has been feeling something in his hip. He looked a little ungainly running to second on a pair of doubles that he hit Tuesday night.
"Is that running?" Mattingly joked.
But Beckett wasn't elaborating on whatever he's feeling, probably because he didn't want to seem to be making excuses.
"We're all dealing with stuff. You could go all the way through this clubhouse and you're not going to find anybody who's feeling great right now," Beckett said. "That's just the way it is. Keep working."
Asked if what he's feeling could best be described as "general soreness," Beckett laughed a bit and said, "I don't know. Yeah, I'm generally sore."
2dBrian Heyman, Special to ESPN.com